The NFL Draft has turned into a spectacle it does not need to be. A weekend affair full of fans jammed into a theatre and college athletes turned pro walking across the stage amongst friends and family is what made the day so special. The close-knit, familial nature of the event made this a great time for young players to meet each other and enjoy their prospects for futures in the most popular US professional sport. But boy how things have changed.
The primetime lights and corporate greed that has stretched the draft over three days has lessened the chance for camaraderie amongst NFL rookies and has opened the young men up to the ever so potent “bright lights” of media from around the world. The phone calls, interviews, and requests for comments both in the lead up to and after draft selection keep these kids–because yes they are all basically still kids–from enjoying this special moment with those who have been with them along their respective journeys. In fact, some even have camera crews come quite literally into their homes for a more personal and emotional take on the overall experience.
Yes, much of this is welcomed by players and their families. Do media outlets pressure the NFL into making this spectacle a profitable event for both parties? Of course. And might it be true that fans even enjoy being able to take in the event? Maybe. But in my mind, the fact remains this. When you ask young men to transition from college football to the NFL, as we have seen time and time again, they need all the support they can get. And that should start in a jam-packed theatre surround be friends, family, and peers.
Fellas, Welcome to Primetime. Best of luck, be smart, and stay healthy.
Written by: Frank Legere (@franklegere22)